Often Partisan


“Due Diligence” is a phrase that has been overused recently in context with Birmingham City Football Club. It’s actually got to a point where some of us fans are thinking Alex McLeish is trying to shoehorn it into interviews as a bit of a joke – but the fact is for us bluenoses that we’re six days away from the new season and we’re a bit short on numbers.

Normally, I’m an optimistic kind of fan; I like McLeish a lot, I admire his professionalism and his intelligence. When he speaks to the press he sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, he’s not one to offer lame excuses or to take cheap shots. I think the infrastructure at the club is slowly improving, and that there is an ethos of building the entire club and not just the first team. However, after looking through the messageboards this morning and having a think about it myself, I can’t help but think time is running out for us now.

One problem we’ve got right now is it’s a sellers market. With the new quota rules in force, English or homegrown players are now at a premium as other teams are keen to keep hold of them to fulfil their own obligations. There is more fear within clubs I think that they don’t tank on wages the way Portsmouth did, and slide out of the trapdoor and almost out of existence. Barring teams like Man City who still seem to be spending money like water, there hasn’t really been that much movement in the market either – and that lack of action means other teams have been sat on their hands, afraid to make the first move.

In bald, simple terms I think Birmingham City require a minimum of four players. A left back, a striker, a pacy winger and cover for right back or centre back. We’ve got two loan slots to use up, so theoretically we only need to sign two players. Not hard, you would think bearing in mind we’ve spent 12 million already on Zigic and Foster, and that we pretty much know who our targets are. The problem is we’ve stalemated on each target – refusing to budge from a set price because we don’t feel we’d get value from paying more.

Unfortunately, I think we’ve lost this game of hardball. We can’t afford to stall any longer; I can understand McLeish afraid of wasting cash and signing turkeys but he’s got to bite the bullet and get players in. The reason he’s paid a massive sum of money to manage a football club is to make these decisions, to live by them and die by them. Not making a decision, and allowing the club to slide down the division because of a lack of investment is worse in my eyes than signing a player that doesn’t work out for whatever reason.

So in short, this is a plea to the powers that be. I admire your prudence, your patience but we can’t afford to be either any more. Let’s get some players in, let’s get a strong squad together and hopefully we can at least consolidate in the Premier League this year. Failure to do so will cause the boo boys to find their voice, and it’s been nice recently to have them silenced.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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